Apple make tool to delete U2′s album

September 16th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Deleting music from your iTunes should be pretty easy, but the hoo-hah as been so loud about U2 appearing on people’s devices without being asked, Apple have had to make a token gesture.

Some of the more hysterical sorts have been screaming their lungs through their noses with things like “IF THEY CAN PUT A U2 ALBUM IN EVERYONE’S PHONE, IMAGINE WHAT ELSE THEY CAN PUT IN THERE?!?!?! AAAAARGH!!!!” while other people have shrugged and thought ‘nice idea, but I don’t like U2.’

Well, Apple have released a new tool which allows people to remove U2′s new album from their iTunes library with greater ease.

u2 albumn Apple make tool to delete U2s album

While it was always possible to remove the album yourself, this new thing is a one-click job, which means that should appease a few lunatics out there.

Apple have also set up a support website to guide people through this difficult time.

5 million Gmail adresses and passwords dumped online

September 11th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

gmail logo stylized 300x300 5 million Gmail adresses and passwords dumped onlineNearly 5 million Gmail addresses and plain text passwords was posted on a forum this week, which is a massive pain in the arse for someone – probably the person who has to answer questions at Google about security breaches and the like.

Someone called ‘tvskit’ posted the archive file on a Bitcoin security forum called btcsec.com, which you can imagine, is a riotous read and will keep you entertained for literally seconds. They reckon that over 60% of the credentials in the file are valid.

“We can’t confirm that it is indeed as much as 60%, but a great amount of the leaked data is legitimate,” said Peter Kruse, the chief technology officer of CSIS Security Group. “We believe the data doesn’t originate from Google directly. Instead it’s likely it comes from various sources that have been compromised.”

What that means is, Google haven’t been hacked, but rather, accounts on other sites where people have used their Gmail addresses as the user name have been obtained.

Google said: “The security of our users is of paramount importance to us. We have no evidence that our systems have been compromised, but whenever we become aware that an account has been compromised, we take steps to help our users secure their accounts.”

In conclusion, here’s the usual ‘you might want to change your password on sites where you’ve used your Gmail address as a user name’ advice.

Fappening: Apple say ‘not our fault!’

September 3rd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

fap 300x217 Fappening: Apple say not our fault!The recent ‘fappening’ – or if you prefer, all those nudey photos of celebrities that suddenly appeared online this week – will have either seen you explode with fury, ejaculate or boredom.

What of the security of our cloud accounts? And don’t worry, Daily Mail readers, we’re not talking about an actual cloud in the sky.

Well, Apple have peered out of the mess and conjecture and said that, while the celebrities’ iCloud accounts were “compromised”, there’s nothing wrong with the system as a whole.

In a statement released yesterday, they said that hackers stole private photographs from accounts using “a very targeted attack on user names, passwords, and security questions”.

“None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone. We are continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved.”

So, in short, Apple are saying that, unless you’re an attractive famous person, you shouldn’t worry that anyone will come after you for your personal photos.

The FBI have said that they’re looking for the original hacker. If they find them, everyone knows that it won’t stop people trying to get all up in the business of famous people.

And furthermore, even if hackers or whatever don’t go after people’s things, no-one should worry about personal privacy because we collectively don’t have any to begin with, if we’re online.

How to keep your nudes safe from being hacked

September 1st, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

naked selfie How to keep your nudes safe from being hackedAs you’re no doubt aware, Jennifer Lawrence has had some naked selfies stolen from her, and according to the very reputable 4chan, they were swiped by someone hacking her iCloud account. If you haven’t seen the photos, then chances are we’ve lost you and you’re burrowing into a search engine now, looking for boobs.

How can you keep your cloud accounts safe? If you have an account with iCloud, Dropbox or Google+, you might find that they automatically upload and save your images.

First thing to do is to make sure your password doesn’t get stolen or is difficult to guess. That’s blindingly obvious, but worth mentioning. Change your passwords regularly and make sure they’re not words, but rather, a collection of letters, numbers and symbols.

It doesn’t matter how safe cloud accounts are made if your password is 123456 or ‘password’.

Another thing you can do is make sure that you switch off the automatic backup services. In all Apple devices, you can disable Photostream. If you turn it off, it’ll delete any automatically stored images from iCloud. You’ll have to delete any manually shared Photostreams yourself.

With Dropbox, your Android device can be set-up to upload every photo and video you take into the cloud. If that’s not your thing, go to ‘settings’ and turn the option off. You’ll also need to delete them from Dropbox manually.

On Android, G+ and Picasa, you can disable automatic photo backup in the Photos app on your device. You’ll need to go to ‘settings’ then Auto-Backup and then untick ‘Back up local folders’.

Of course, you’re not a celebrity so the chances of someone wanting to hack your account and share your photos are slim. However, if you’re feeling jumpy or just want to disable these functions, now you know how.

You’re still not reading this are you. You’re still looking at boobs.

Twitter Logo1 Become more insufferable with Twitter AnalyticsNow you can peek at who is looking at your tweets!

Yes indeed, pump up your ego and assess your online presence, as you can now log in to Twitter Analytics!

You can see how far your “reach” is, work out the ideal audience for your Bake Off-related tweets, and know when not to slip an off-colour joke in.

You can also download the data to browse through offline too. IMAGINE THE FUN YOU’LL HAVE DOING THAT?

Until now, only the celebrities had this option, but now, everyone can do it, which means we’re all just like the famous people, apart from being considerably poorer.

So as long as you’ve had an account for more than a fortnight, you can now see what’s going on. Boost your impact! Find out your bullshit footprint!

Find out who loves you and then perhaps touch yourself, you dirty Herbert.

Kitemarks for money apps

August 27th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

bsi.png Kitemarks for money appsA new kitemark has been launched to help people trust certain apps with their personal data.

The new BSI (British Standards Institution) kitemark has been applied to Barclay’s new Pingit mobile payment service and Barclays Mobile Banking, after they were independently assessed.

Although the kitemark is initially being piloted within the banking industry, the BSI envisages that its use will be adopted by a wider range of firms – for example within the entertainment industry.

Anyone wanting to get a kitemark for their product will have to go through hardcore testing so that their security meets the required standards for dealing with confidential data.

Those that meet the standards will be able to give customers confidence by displaying the kitemark on their products and in their marketing materials.

This is quite the thing as three quarters of Brits now use the internet for shopping and just over half now bank online.

Maureen Sumner Smith who is the UK managing director at BSI, used her mouth and said: “More and more of us are now sharing confidential information through online shopping, mobile banking, booking flights, gaming, university applications or interacting with local government. These behavioural changes from the physical to the digital demand the need for even more rigorous security measures.”

“Many organisations have good information security processes already established, but by having their systems independently tested on a regular basis as part of the BSI kitemark process, they can clearly demonstrate to customers their commitment to safeguarding information.”

Help save Earth from cybercrime!

August 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

GCHQ Help save Earth from cybercrime!Fancy yourself as some kind of cyber-crim thwarter? Well, you’re in luck.

The British intelligence agency GCHQ, have launched an online game to test whether you’d be any good at stopping a fictional attack.

GCHQ are hoping to find some masterminds among the gameplayers, and then use them, USE THEM FOR THEIR MINDS.

And it’s not a piece of puff, winners of previous missions have gone on to work at the agency.

In the game, called ‘Assignment: Astute Explorer’, users must protect a fictitious aerospace technology company threatened by imminent attack from imaginary cyber terrorists called The Flag Day Associates. There’s even YouTube threats and all sorts. Fancy that!

The story goes that fictitious company Ebell are concerned about the threat of an imminent attack and have asked GCHQ operatives (the public playing the game) to assess the scale of the threat. Sounds like fun.

If you fancy your chances at, you know, one day possibly saving the world, head here.

ditto pic 300x219 Tumblr and Ditto: stalking your photos for brandsIn ‘web-stalking brand awareness reach’ news, Tumblr have teamed up with Ditto Labs. Ditto analyse photos posted on social media, and scan them for any brand-related data.

Basically anything can be deemed as data, from a brand of drink being drunkenly held aloft, to a sportswear label seen on a garment.

Apparently this deal will give advertisers the chance to see how they’re being perceived.

It’s a new way of research without badgering you on the street or filling in a form, but still feels a little stalkery.

But the futuristically named T.R. Newcomb, head of business development at Tumblr, stated: “If Coke wants to understand the nature of the conversation we can sift through and deliver it to Coke.”

He ominously added “Right now, we’re not planning to do anything ad-related.”

Yeah right. Either way, looks like Yahoo!, who bought Tumblr, are finally throwing a bit of weight around in a bid to start making more money on the blogging portal.

Want to see where Google have tracked you?

August 18th, 2014 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Google Maps Want to see where Google have tracked you?You know that Google tracks your every movement don’t you? Unless you’ve tinkered with the location settings on your phone, they know where you’ve been going. Including that late night jog you went on… to a massage parlour.

Well, if you didn’t know, there’s a map online, where you can see to what level Google have been following you around.

Of course, many of you will look at your map and realise that you’ve got the life-radius of a beetle tied to a nail, walking around in ever decreasing circles.

You’ll have to log in with your Google account, but once you do, you’ll see a 2D map with a record of where you’ve been for the last month. Whether you think this is a cause for concern is your business, but looking at the map of your recent history might make you feel a bit weird in a Minority Report kinda way.

Have a look at the map of your whereabouts here.

facebook 300x300 Third of workers happy for employers to look at their FacebookAlmost one in three employees is happy for their employer to have access to their personal data.

31% of employees – chiefly those born in the 80s/90s, or Generation Y as they are referred to – are quite happy for their employer to look at their internet presences and social media dallying.

Mainly because the idea of having some privacy online seems insane to a generation that have been brought up on the internet.

The study questioned 2,000 UK workers, also found that 59% of people were willing to be available at all times in return for job security.

This is just one of the findings in PriceWaterhouseCooper’s new Future of Work report.

The report looks into how people work, and their attitudes towards it, predicts that companies could be able to analyse a person’s social media profile to understand what makes them tick in the workplace, and also try and understand why some stuff leave.

Perhaps analysing a post that says “I hate my job, my boss, all the staff and the entire UK operation” might indicate that a staff member is in some way unhappy.

Anthony Bruce, who is HR workforce analytics leader at PwC, said: “Just as advertisers and retailers are using data from customers’ online and social media activity to tailor their shopping experience, organisations could soon start using workers’ personal data, with their permission, to measure and anticipate performance and retention issues.”

“This sort of data profiling could also extend to real-time monitoring of employees’ health, with proactive health guidance to help reduce sick leave.”

Hmm – ‘real-time monitoring of employee’s health’ – not sounding creepy there AT ALL Bruce. Of course, the danger here is that they’ll base your mood and health entirely through algorithms and, if your Facebook is filled with pictures of Grumpy Cat, you might find your boss paying to get you spayed on your lunch.

google plus logo Google are scanning emails... but catching child abusersGoogle have been relatively open about how they scan everyone’s emails – it is so they can tailor adverts to customers and make loads of money. However, not everyone is happy about that, especially with all that NSA business.

However, reports say that a Google tip-off from the contents of a Gmail account ended up in the arrest of a child abuser from Texas. Police say Google told the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about the content in an email sent by John Henry Skillern, who is a registered sex offender.

“He was trying to get around getting caught, he was trying to keep it inside his email,” said Detective David Nettles. “I can’t see that information, I can’t see that photo, but Google can.”

So what’s going on?

Pictures are hashed which creates a unique code for an image. The hash is compared with a database of known child abuse images and, if they match, details are passed to the NCMEC (or, if you’re in Britain, the Internet Watch Foundation, who Google actually give funding to). Then, a trained expert looks at the case and decides whether or not to pass it on to the police.

AOL also employ a similar system and they caught someone sharing illegal images last year.

The moral quandary is that, while the capture of child abusers is absolutely good and noble, Google and others are sifting through everyone’s correspondence and repacking it for advertisers. With Google’s buying of Nest, some people even think that they’ll be able to spy on you via your thermostat (a bit like the Piers Brosnan robot house in The Simpsons).

So what’s the trade off? If you’re not doing anything wrong, should people be scanning your emails? Do you not mind because child abusers can be caught? Is this case being crowed about in a bid to try and distract users from something a bit dodgy going on? Or do we just accept it because this is how the internet works?

Facebook launched their Messenger service not too long ago, in a bid to muscle in on the market that WhatsApp have enjoyed so much. If you have the FB app on your phone, you were pretty much forced to download the Messenger app because Zuckerberg wouldn’t let you read your inbox without it.

Most people weren’t too fussed – it is just another app right?

Well, if you look in the terms and conditions, as spotted by IA there’s some very dodgy looking stuff in there. Not surprising that Facebook are being shady, but it makes for grim reading.

facebook messenger 500x476 Facebook Messenger recording your calls without permission?

As you can see, the t&cs say that having Messenger on your phone allows Facebook to read your phone call log, read data about who you’re contacting and when, and most worryingly, allows Facebook to take pictures and videos without your consent and record audio of your calls.

Of course, there’s still going to be people who aren’t bothered about this because they think their lives are too humdrum to warrant recording, but this is worrying. It isn’t the only app that asks for permissions such as this.

Naturally, you can uninstall the app if this makes you jumpy, or at least toggle the security settings. This seems to be the permissions for the Android version of the app, with the iPhone version being slightly different.

Facebook. Looks like they’re at it again.

Nuisance calls: still a nuisance

July 25th, 2014 4 Comments By Ian Wade

rotary cell phone 300x197 Nuisance calls: still a nuisanceThe Telephone Preference Service is bloody useless, say Ofcom.

The TPS runs a register designed to reduce any unsolicited sales calls. Firms can be fined for ignoring the list.

According to the findings of the research, while the TPS is “highly effective” at stopping calls to consumers registered on TPS by legitimate telemarketing companies,  TPS-registered consumers still receive on average 2.5 nuisance calls per month.

It transpires that only a third of “nuisance” calls are blocked by the service, which allows individuals to opt-out of marketing calls, research has found.

However some rogue companies are flouting the rules, according to regulators. And us lot unwittingly give consent for calls by ticking a box on devious online sales forms.

The research, commissioned by Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office, found that registering with the TPS blocked 35% of all nuisance calls.

If you’re an individual, registration on the TPS is free and takes 28 days to become effective.

It is a legal requirement that all organisations – including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties – do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have the individual’s consent to do so.

There are plans to increase the level of fines levied on firms that make nuisance calls, and these are due in October.

Fines of up to 20% of annual turnover could be handed down to firms using information gathered by unlawful unsolicited calls and texts. That’ll learn ‘em.

Let’s see what the swarthly named Claudio Pollack from Ofcom has to say: “We understand how frustrating it is to still receive some unsolicited sales calls despite being TPS-registered,”

“That is why we welcome tough enforcement action from the ICO against rogue companies who breach the rules.”

Currently, the ICO must demonstrate “significant damage or distress” caused to individuals by nuisance calls or spam texts in order to issue monetary penalties of up to £500,000.

Christ, let’s hope no mobile company has pissed off its users by spamming them willy nilly then. Oh.

Ofcom: Brits want a dirty internet

July 23rd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

porn Ofcom: Brits want a dirty internetThe mucky-minded of Britain were asked if they wanted the government to introduce porn filters to the internet. An overwhelming majority laughed in the face of such an idea, with a take-up for Sky, BT and Virgin Media all below 10%.

Ofcom have done a report on such a thing, and found that most people chose not to block porn from their internet connections, telling ISPs to stick their adult content filters up their holes. Yeah. Like that. Oh yeah. Einfach so, mein kleines Kaninchen.

This is bad news for the Govt because they shouted loudly about all this and made BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media all contact their customers to force them to turn the modesty filters on or off. It is a weird notion. Imagine a Government official popping their head around your door and saying “watching any dirty films any time soon?”

You’d throw a shoe at them.

Ofcom found that 5% of new BT customers turned the filters on, with 8% of Sky customers and a measly 4% of Virgin Media users. The fusty sorts at TalkTalk already have the Homesafe parental controls system. 36% of those guys wanted to get it turned on. Oooh yeah.

Now, all ISPs are required to ‘pre-tick’ the box that sees adult content filters switched to ‘on’, which means new customers have to actively say they want it switched off during the installation process.

Naturally, the whole thing has already been a farce, with non-bongo sites being blocked by these clunky modesty wrappers. People found that they were denied access to sites which offer help about domestic violence and sexual health.

Either way, it seems like Britain is all for a dirtier internet, which is to be applauded. So the chastity belt wearing simpletons at Westminster.

private 300x199 How your banking habits and other personal data are affecting your insurance premiums...We’d all like an extra 20% discount on our car insurance, right? Well it seems that some insurers are offering up to a fifth off car insurance premiums for ‘prudent’ people.

Some insurance firms claim that they have found a strong link between people who are prudent with their spending and those less likely to take risks while driving. If you’re careful with your money, you’ll be careful on the road. This means that Lloyds insurance arm Scottish Widows is apparently offering up to 20% off to certain customers who, for example, stay within their overdraft limits, or never need an overdraft, or who never miss a credit card payment.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that renewing car insurance becomes a more labour-intensive process, requiring drivers to detail their financial histories in order to try and get a discount. Instead, this is just part of the ‘big data revolution’ which sees businesses using consumers’ personal information in new and exciting ways. And Scottish Widows aren’t alone.

We’ve known for years that Tesco monitors the shopping habits of Clubcard holders, and Tesco insurance reportedly offers discounts of up to 40% on home and car insurance to those whose shopping habits indicate they would be a careful driver. However, they are not forthcoming on which products are so indicative. Aviva changes house insurance premiums depending on the exact location of properties on a street.

But while no one is going to be miffed at being offered an un-requested 20% discount, as with everything else in life, the fear is that this is, in fact, a double edged sword. While those with ‘good’ financial habits are offered money off, are those struggling to make ends meet going to be penalised even further by higher premiums? Apparently not.

A spokesman for Scottish Widows told the Telegraph that “this use of the data we hold is allowing us to offer discounts on motor insurance to customers who tend to show care in areas like personal finances. But we will not be using this information to increase premiums.” Sounds pretty categoric. For now anyway.

However, privacy groups remain unconvinced, and consider this alternate use of data to be a breach of trust by holders of super-sensitive data.

Emma Carr, acting director of Big Brother Watch, said: “Despite this being within the law, the way many companies go about doing this is underhand and goes far beyond what customers would expect them to do with their data.”  She called on insurers to give customers the option of explicitly opting-in to the use of big data rather than just allowing them to opt out, if consumers are even aware of how businesses are using their data.

So what do you think? Is it OK so long as it only confers positive benefits, or will the sharp side of the deal inevitably turn up before long?